In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a colorful rainy scene featuring an emotional woman. You’ll learn how to add a colorful background using blending modes, retouch the model and take care of details, make rain using a custom brush, adjust the color, and enhance the depth of field.
The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:
1. Retouch the Model
Create a new 2000 x 1333 px document in Photoshop with the given settings:
Open the model image. Drag this image into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V).
The model has a pretty face, but I’ve found her expression does not really fit well the feeling we need in this tutorial. The retouching process will be reducing the
“dead spaces” and unwanted light areas, changing some of the face details
to focus on the look and feeling of the model while still respecting the
original light source (from right to left).
On the model layer, use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the face and go to
Layer > Liquify, and choose the Forward Warp Tool (W). Her eyebrows are
too thin and a bit too far from the eyes and create a “dead space”. Use
this tool to lower the eyebrows’ position, lift up the corners of the lips a
bit, and make the chin a little longer.
Here’s the look after liquifying:
After liquifying, there is an unwanted part of the right eyebrow. Also, I’ve
noticed there is an unwanted blurred line on the dark background, and it might
distract from the final effect. Create a new layer and activate the Clone
Tool (S). Use this tool to remove the indicated details:
Create a new layer and use a hard round brush with the color
#080508 to paint more eyebrow hair for the model.
Make a new layer, change the mode to Overlay 100%, and fill with 50% gray.
Use the Dodge and Burn Tool (O) to refine, enhance and sharpen the face
details as mentioned above. Her forehead is a bit too large, and there is
an unnecessary light part on the area between the left eye and eyebrow.
You should use the Burn Tool to darken the forehead to make it look
smaller and to hide this light part behind the hair. Also use the Dodge
Tool to increase the light on the contour of the right arm (we’ll add the
back light later so it should be brighter than present) and a detail on
the left shoulder. You can see how I did it with Normal mode and the
result with Overlay mode.
On a new layer, use a small medium-hard black brush to strengthen the
stroke of her lashes. It helps to emphasize the eyes.
Use a new layer and a soft brush with the color
#bc7783 to paint on the
lower left of the lips to darken them a bit. Change this layer mode to
We’ve finished retouching the model. You can take a look at the
Before/After screenshot below. The retouching process requires some patience and
attention, but don’t hesitate to take time for it—it’s worth it!
2. The Basic Adjustment
After retouching the model, we’ll change the color, lightness and
contrast of the dark background a bit. Go to Layer > New Adjustment
Layer > Hue/Saturation and change the Cyans and Blues settings. The
aim is to make the final effect more colorful (you’ll see in the last
Make a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness. On this layer
mask, use a soft black brush to erase most of the background and the
model, leaving the light visible only at the contour area of the right
Make another Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness. Use
this layer mask to make the dark effect visible in the left corner of
the scene—it creates a look of the model fading into the dark background.
3. Add the City Background
Open the city image. We need to place it behind the model but still keep the visibility of the raindrops. Also, the umbrella is semi-transparent with lots of tiny drops so we’ll use blending modes to import it. First, place this image over the model one and change the mode to Color Dodge 100%:
Hide the city layer and the adjustment layers in section 2. Use the
Magic Wand Tool (W) to select the model and the falling raindrops.
Turn on the city layer and click the second icon at the bottom of the
Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. We have the result:
Use a soft black brush with a low opacity (about 30-35%) to refine the
mask, recover the missing hair, and make the top of the city background appear semi-transparent through the
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and change the Radius to 12 px, to make the city background look separate from the model:
Apply a Motion Blur with the settings below to make the effect more subtle.
Duplicate the city layer and change the mode to Screen 100%. Also turn
on the adjustment layers in section 2. You’ll need to refine the
mask again using a soft black brush.
Continue duplicating the city layer and alter the mode to Hard Light
100%. It helps to increase the contrast and make the model and the rain
effect really stand out on the dark background. Here are the mask and the result after this step.
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer for this layer (set it as Clipping Mask) to make the effect more colorful:
4. Add the Bokeh
Place the bokeh image in the upper half of the scene and change the mode to Screen 100%.
Use a layer mask to erase the bokeh on the model’s body and face, making the effect appear on both sides of the hair and the background. It
helps to make the model integrated better with the background.
Apply the Gaussian Blur and Motion Blur filters as we did with the city background.
5. Create the Rain and Rain Effect
First we’ll be making the rain. There are many ways to make it, or you can
look at my Dark and Surreal tutorial. If you want to try another way, here
it is. Create a new 100 x 600 px document in Photoshop and choose white
for the background. Select a hard black brush and press F5 to change the
settings of this brush:
Change the foreground to black. Hold down the Shift key and paint a line
from the top on the white background. Convert this layer to a Smart
Object and use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to make it narrower,
thinner, and longer.
Apply a Gaussian Blur of 1 px to this line:
Apply a Motion Blur with the following settings:
Hide the white background and go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and name it whatever you want.
back to our main document and make a new layer on top of the layers and
change the foreground to white. Select the rain brush we’ve created in
the previous step and change its settings:
Use this brush to paint the rain over the scene. Hold [ or ] to change
the size of the rain brush while painting to give it a more realistic
Apply a Gaussian Blur of 1.5 px to soften the rain effect.
Make two layers and change the rain brush direction as shown below. Paint the falling rain from the left and from the right to fit the perspective of the umbrella.
Create a new layer and select a medium-hard white brush with size about
2-4 px to paint the raindrops on the umbrella and falling from it. Lower
the brush opacity to 50-70% to achieve a better effect.
The rain, like the other subjects, is affected by the light from the
background. Create a new layer and hide all the layers except the model
one. Use the Magic Wand Tool to select the dark background
including the raindrops (we used this method once in section 3) and
press Control-I to invert this selection.
Use a soft brush with the color
#f94a24 to paint on the raindrops,
especially the falling ones which get light from the background. Change
this layer mode to Soft Light 100%.
To make color for the rain we’ve created in this section, make a new
layer. Hold Control-Shift while clicking the rain and the raindrops
thumbnail layers to load their selection. Use the same brush to paint on
the hanging drops and alter the mode to Soft Light 100%.
6. Paint the Lighting Effect
Make a new layer and use a soft brush with the color
#fec036 and opacity about 30-40% to paint on the stroke of the right arm to reflect
the light background on there. Change this layer mode to Overlay 100%:
Create a new layer with Overlay mode and use a soft brush with the color
#e68e4d to paint light on the contour of the left arm. Make it thin and
Use a hard brush with the color
#bad6ff to paint the hair strands on the area affected by the blue light.
Change the brush’s color to
#fde3ba and paint on the areas affected by the yellow light.
7. The Final Adjustment
Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings.
Create a Color Lookup adjustment layer and choose Fallcolors.look. Lower the opacity of this layer to 50%:
Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color
Create a Curves adjustment layer to change the color and contrast a bit:
Make a Levels adjustment layer to darken the scene. On this layer mask,
erase both sides of the hair to reveal the details there.
Use a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the effect:
The last step: use a soft black brush to paint on the top corners of the
scene to increase the shadow there. Change the layer mode to Soft Light 100%.
Congratulations, You’re Done!
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my tutorial and learned something new. Feel
free to share your ideas or comments in the box below—I’d love to see
them. Enjoy Photoshopping!